Race and Social Problems

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 79–90

Racial Discrimination, Religion, and the African American Drinking Paradox


DOI: 10.1007/s12552-016-9188-3

Cite this article as:
Henderson, L. Race Soc Probl (2017) 9: 79. doi:10.1007/s12552-016-9188-3


African Americans are more likely to abstain from drinking than are Whites; yet, they are more likely than Whites to engage in problem drinking. The analysis uses data from the 1999–2000 National Survey of Black Workers (N = 1692), which is a nationally representative sample of currently employed and recently unemployed English-speaking African American adults. This article examines the link between discrimination, religion, and African American drinking behavior. The results from multinomial logit analyses show that those who experience more discrimination are significantly more likely to be social drinkers (vs. nondrinkers). At the same time, when controlling for other factors, those who experience more discrimination are significantly more likely to be problem drinkers. When religiosity is taken into consideration, it acts as a suppressor in the relationship between experience with discrimination and nondrinking, as those who experience more discrimination are significantly less likely to be nondrinkers (vs. social drinkers). The results also suggest that religiosity partially explains the relationship between discrimination and problem drinking. The implications of these findings are discussed.


Racial discrimination Religion African American drinking paradox Drinking behavior 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of MarylandBaltimore CountyUSA

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